Statistics Canada considers replacing telephone surveys with text messages

Signage marks the Statistics Canada officies in Ottawa on Wednesday July 21, 2010. Statscan chief statistician Munir Sheikh is expected to hold a town hall meeting with staff today to answer concerns regarding the 2011 census. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

As the Canadian government continues to inch towards embracing the digital age, policy-makers are looking for new ways to modernize the collection of questionnaire and census data, according to CTV News.

In light of this year’s census, which was collected online by default, Statistics Canada is starting work on ways to improve survey results. One major roadblock with old methods is the sharp decline in telephone survey response rates, as landlines are supplanted by cell phones.

Starting this year, StatsCan is working on new methods involving text messages and digital data collection, as a drop in response rates to traditional surveys could render that data useless. From the 2016 census, in which activation codes were sent by mail to individual households, the response rate for the short-form census stands at 98 percent, and at 96 percent for the long-form census. Compare that to recent social surveys conducted over the phone by Statistics Canada, which received responses from less than 50 percent of those called.

Considering the federal Liberal government’s pledge to make decisions based on evidence and the collection of data, the role of StatsCan is more important than ever.

This article was originally published on MobileSyrup

0 replies on “Statistics Canada considers replacing telephone surveys with text messages”